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Sewage Collection and Pumping System

Bureau of Utilities
4421 Bucks Schoolhouse Road
Baltimore, Maryland 21237

Phone: 410-887-1836
Fax: 410-887-1832

TTY Users call Maryland Relay 1-800-735-2258


Baltimore County's sewage collection system successfully handles approximately one billion gallons per year through its network of 3,000 miles of pipeline, 116 pumping stations and 60,000 manholes. The average age of the system is approximately 45 years. Over 99 percent of the wastewater handled by the system is pumped safely to wastewater treatment plants without incident.

Overflow Causes

Roots, debris and grease build-ups are the most frequent causes of pipeline blockages and overflows – and for over 70 percent of manhole overflows. The remainder are by a variety of causes such as structural pipe failure, vandalism and inflow and infiltration during heavy rainfall.

We Need Your Help

The following guidelines prevent sewage system damage:

  • Never pour grease down sink drains or into toilets.
  • Pour oils and greases (including salad oils, and bacon fat) into a container such as an old milk carton or other empty non-recyclable container and dispose in the trash. You can also use coffee grounds or kitty litter to absorb the oil.
  • Do not put grease down garbage disposals. Put baskets or strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids and empty them into the trash.
  • Dry wipe and scrape grease and food scraps from trays, plates, pots, pans, utensils and grills and cooking surfaces into a can or the trash

Prevention and Repair Methods

  • Bureau of Utilities crews work around the clock, every day, to monitor, inspect, and perform routine maintenance on sewer system components. The average response time for main line sewer blockages is 28 minutes.
  • A new computerized alarm and monitoring system has been installed that provides faster, more detailed and more accurate information on sewage system operations. This $1.5 million monitoring system will monitor sewage flow, flow failures and alarms.
  • An average of $45 to $50 million is invested every year in strategically planned capital improvements to the sewage system; $240,291,000 is currently allocated in the five-year budget. These funds will enable the County to enhance the reliability of the sewer conveyance system and minimize overflow events through rehabilitation and replacement of pipelines, and retrofitting and upgrading pumping stations' with new technologies to enhance pipeline and pumping station operations.
  • Baltimore County's Plumbing Code requires grease interceptors in restaurants.
  • The Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) program educates the public.
Revised December 5, 2016         


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